After the Pope’s inauguration on Tuesday, Alessandro Speciale notes Francis’ focus on the environment:
The pope’s homily was striking for its repeated references to environmental protection, highlighting what is likely to be a central theme of his papacy and setting up the 76-year-old pope as a leading activist against climate change.
When mankind fails to care for creation and for the weak, “the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened. Tragically, in every period of history there are ‘Herods’ who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.” Francis addressed himself to “all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life,” asking them to be “’protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.”
Maybe not a surprising stance from a fan of public transportation. And certainly not from a man who took the name Francis. In my view, the Church has a key role to play in defending creation from frenzied exploitation, in advancing the value of stewardship of nature, in seeing the protection of the planet not as a right or left issue, but as a sacred human duty, a reminder that this speck in a galaxy in an expanding universe is not ours alone, that our species’ dominion over it must always be balanced by care and love.